Monterey, California (25 September 2017) – Coming off a euphoric weekend on the east coast after Patrick Gallagher clinched the 2017 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires championship, McCumbee McAleer Racing (MMR) still had plenty to prove. With Gallagher able to score two more victories at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to tie a series record, Robert Stout on the verge of capturing the Rookie of the Year title, and Max Faulkner knocking on the door with momentum, the team knew that this weekend would be approached just like any other; maximum output.
The weekend began strong with Gallagher, Stout, and Faulkner all showing speed in each of the test sessions held at Mazda Raceway. Heading into qualifying, the trio were able to retain their consistency and Gallagher, in his #29 ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping Mazda, qualified fifth, Stout placed eighth in the Lucas Oil / Lucas Oil Racing TV / SC Fuels Miata, and Falkner was just behind in 11th.
Although the team was accepting of the qualifying results, they had a game plan ready for the final rounds of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season. Race #1 of the weekend took off at a scorching pace and Gallagher worked relentlessly to claw his way back to the front as he initially was shuffled back a few positions. As the laps began to tick down, Gallagher did what he does best and won Round 11 by over half a second. “I just didn’t get the start that I wanted – it was my fault – we were loose on the first lap and I went backwards instead of forwards on that first lap, just not being patient,” Gallagher explained. “I think we were back up to fourth or fifth after a few laps and then it gets harder and harder to get by guys getting closer to the front. Robby (Foley) and I were pretty equal. I got by him and then it was a knock down drag out fight for the lead. It was great, he’s one of my best friends and was my roommate, and we still do a lot of stuff together. So it was tough, we’d be getting into each other and then giving each other the thumbs up. It was hard but a lot of fun.”
In Gallagher’s tire tracks was Robert Stout who grabbed an impressive third place finish. Stout, very aware of his surroundings, knew a win wasn’t needed to take the Rookie of the Year honors, but finishing near Ortiz was his top priority. “I didn’t care if we were in 15th or if we were in fifth, I just wanted to keep Ortiz with me,” Stout said. “We are very close in speed to each other so I was hoping we would have a close battle. I was able to hold off fourth for a long time and then I saw him go out. My goal was to just stay within one position of him. I was doing the math and as long as I stayed either in front or behind, I would be close enough to hopefully seal the deal tomorrow. All year long, Ortiz has been great, he is one of the best drivers in the series. I have a lot of fun racing against him. He is aggressive and I love to race against someone who is like that.”
The final round of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season kicked off at 9:15AM on Saturday morning, however, this may have been the biggest difference from the round prior. Just like Race #1 of the weekend, the team battled relentlessly and Gallagher swept the weekend to pick up his eighth win of the year tying the series record! “Earning two more wins this past weekend at Mazda Raceway and with Patrick tying a series record is another milestone for MMR and ModSpace,” stated William Mann, Vice President of Motorsports for ModSpace. “MMR is a relatively new team to this series so this has been an amazing race season for them. Capturing the Global MX-5 Cup Series championship was a tremendous accomplishment and ModSpace is honored to be a partner to share this excitement with them. We are proud of the effort put forth by each driver and team that earned them this notable season.”
Max Faulkner, who scored a ninth place finish the day prior, replicated this in the final round of the season giving him two top-tens at Mazda Raceway. “During the races I fought hard with multiple competitors and I was very happy to come away from the weekend with a pair of top 10 finishes,” said Faulkner. “Looking back on the season I can say I’m happy with the way I’ve driven this year as well as the results I have gotten. Along with my strong performance in Toronto, the entire Laguna Seca race weekend was incredible for me and I can’t wait to be back on track next year!”
Robert Stout, who brought his #28 machine home in the fifth position, held on to capture the 2017 Rookie of the Year award! “This season can be summed up in one simple word: SUCCESS”, exclaimed Stout. “I wish we would have been in a better position to run down the championship, but my teammate, Patrick, was unstoppable; huge congrats to him! I’m extremely happy to have taken home multiple wins, the $50,000 Rookie of the Year award, and a top three overall result in the points, even with two DNF’s. This team showed that we are the benchmark in this series and when you put all the right pieces of the puzzle together, results will come! I’m just honored to have been a part of this great season with MMR and all my partners. I can’t wait to hopefully go after the $200,000 championship next season!”
Thrilled with the success, hard work, and dedication of the entire team are MMR team owners, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer. “The season finale at Mazda Raceway was a fitting end to an amazing season,” said McCumbee. “Our McCumbee McAleer Racing team had a year to remember and one for the record books as well. It is very seldom you have this much success in a race season but it comes from the unity of our drivers, crew and partners. Everyone simply did an outstanding job week-in and week-out. Thanks to everyone involved!”
“What an unbelievable season for MMR,” said McAleer. “I said at the start of the year we would be a team to watch out for and I’m very proud of what Chad and myself have achieved in only our third season as team owners. You don’t usually get seasons with this type of domination but it shows what preparation, dedication and teamwork can achieve. We delivered race winning cars to race winning drivers and they took full advantage by winning 10 out of 12 races, earned the Rookie of the Year, Team of the Year, and Mechanic of the Year awards as well as the 2017 Driver Championship won by Patrick. This will be a very tough task to repeat next season but we are already looking at a strong driver lineup for 2018 and are hungry to earn back to back titles. I couldn’t have done this without our brilliant crew, all of our partners including ModSpace, Mazda, many more and most importantly, my partner in this amazing adventure, Chad McCumbee.”